Furniture Makes the Room :: My letter to you

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“Our homes tell our story. When we open our front door, we invite people into our

lives. What do they see, feel, experience when they enter?

Come in, we tell our family and friends, come in and rest. All of this–the

collections, the messes, the food simmering, the coffee brewing, the art on the walls,

the music wafting: this place–this is me. These strands can–if we let them–all weave

together to create a unique, authentic environment transcending trend–they create a

home. Your home.

This is the book I’ve always had within me, these images, these projects, this

work–all of it offered to encourage and inspire you to curate and design a home you

love. In it, I create 15 new furniture designs with step-by-step instructions and resources

included in the back. Instead of a single, spare backdrop, each piece is photographed in

three different settings and uses in homes of real people. I wanted to demonstrate, in

an accessible way, the versatility of both color and design–create freedom in function.

A lot of times, people are afraid of color and statement pieces because they feel

it limits them. They think, “Oh, I couldn’t use that in my home, it wouldn’t match,” or

“that’s really fun, it’d be great in a child’s room,” but I gently encourage them to see the

versatility in the boldness. You are not stuck with a statement, instead you discover how

furniture can makes a room come alive; it’s a catalyst which challenges you to see your

space in a new, fresh way.

I want to embolden people to select the pieces they bring in to their homes, to

carefully create spaces they are proud of, spaces of welcome and intention. We are

naturally drawn to things we love and enjoy. Collecting and curating–versus impulse

buys and soul-less monotony–allows us to draw from own own unique wellspring of

tastes. Quality, story-filled items will work wherever you place them. Character, warmth,

memories–these are collected and nurtured with time. A home becomes an alchemy of

welcome, a touchstone rich in personality.

“Live with what you love,” is sort of my unwritten code at Knack, one that I hope

encourages others to stop, sit, and think about what they surround themselves with–not

just in furniture and design, but in their lives. The more we draw authenticity and truth to

ourselves, the more authentic and true we become. And like moths to a flickering flame,

our homes (lit from within) draw others inside where they are nurtured, where they learn our

stories, where they are fed and comforted, and sent back into the world–changed,

encouraged. Loved.

Come in, I’m inviting you into this book that is the most me–my home on paper,

my heart in pages. And within, I invite you to begin see your home as a gift to others, as

a blessing to yourself.”- Sincerely, Barb Blair

Thank you so much to the beautiful and talented Beth Brown Ables for helping me pen these words, and for knowing exactly how to put my thoughts and feelings in the most exquisite form.

Furniture Makes the Room is so much more than a design book……it is my heart and soul.

We will be celebrating our Grand Reopening and book launch on March 25th from 6-9 pm at our brand new location: 580 Perry Ave. Greenville, SC 29611. So, if you are local or would like to take a road trip with all the pals, come celebrate with us!

 

Furniture Makes The Room :: Pre Order

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Hello All!

Things have been a whirlwind around here, and I plan to do some more journaling over the next few weeks to catch everyone here in this space up on what has been happening with Knack…

….BUT, today is exactly one month from the launch of my new book Furniture Makes the Room!! Can you believe it? I can hardly believe that the time is finally here, and I get to share this work with all of you! I can’t wait for you all to see the projects and homes in this book, and feel like it is truly the book that has always been inside of me!

So, we are introducing a special pre order campaign today, and those of you who pre order lickity split get a special treat!

Here are the details:

1. Order Furniture Makes the Room from online retailers (links below) and then fill out the form here with receipt info and mailing address.

2. Pre-order Incentive:  You will receive a roll of wave FrogTape® and a bag of milk paint!

3. Fulfillment: Pre-order incentive will come separately from the book. Chronicle Books will send out a special package to all of the people who have completed the form. So, basically it will be a happy mail day for you guys! Yay!

So, click your heels and  head on over to Amazon, Chronicle, Barnes and Noble, or Indie Bound to pre order your copy and get in on the special gift we have for you!

Thank you to Chronicle Books, FrogTape®, and Old Fashioned Milk Paint for sponsoring this pre order goodness!

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one piece :: two fabulous ways

One of my favorite things to do, and something we did a lot with my new book “Furniture Makes The Room”, is to use the same piece of furniture but style it different ways. The versatility and ease that these statement pieces make is wonderful to see, and I think it really surprises most people!

This week my friend Teresa and I chose to use artwork from her gallery Art and Light  to create two different looks with one of my latest furniture pieces! Here is what we came up with.

The first look is ultra clean and modern with a giant abstract painting by local artist Kevin Isgett. There really did not need to be a whole lot of styling due to the fact that the painting is so incredibly commanding in and of itself. We chose a simple wooden bowl and a super handsome brass lamp and called it perfect!

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For the second look, we chose these beautiful and wild bird paintings by local artist Diane Kilgore Condon. We added a cozy rug and some green plants to bring the outdoors in, and a completely different casual yet magical look was created! Isn’t it amazing what a little styling and playing around with different artwork can do?

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All artwork is available for purchase at Art and Light , and Teresa is great about pairing the perfect artwork with what you already have in your home!

Mix it up!

xo,

Barb

 

 

noteworthy books :: tile makes the room by heath ceramics

Book Cover--Tile Makes the RoomBailey-Petravic 1890s home from Tile Makes the Room--Photographs copyright © 2015 by Mariko Reed Butterfly House, San Francisco, CA  from Tile Makes the Room--Photographs copyright © 2015 by Mariko Reed Kogure House, Tokyo, Japan from Tile Makes the Room--Photographs copyright © 2015 by Mariko Reed Wanzenberg House, New York, New York from Tile Makes the Room--Photographs copyright © 2015 by Mariko Reed

I don’t know about you all….but I am a HUGE book lover! I absolutely love it when a new book comes in the mail, and I was so happy to get this beautiful new book by Heath Ceramics last week! I have thoroughly enjoyed flipping through its pages that are filled with amazing displays of craftsmanship and design….and all with tile! If you have a tile project in your near future or if you simply love beautiful design, then this book is a definite “yes” to add to your collection!

Here is the official press release:

Breathtakingly gorgeous with inspiration on every page, Tile Makes the Room is a unprecedented visual feast that features homes from notable artists, architects, and designers from around the world, with tile as the centerpiece. No other book before has portrayed good design through the versatile and artistic medium of tile. And no authors are positioned as perfectly to lead us on this journey as Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic, purveyors, owners, and tastemakers behind the beloved design and ceramics brand Heath Ceramics. Winners of the 2015 National Design Award, Petravic and Bailey bring rich and deep knowledge of design, craftsmanship, and interiors to this captivating collection of the most thoughtful, and often provocative, uses of tile in the field.  With a stunning tour of innovative, international tile design and detailed project notes that make good design accessible to everyone, Tile Makes the Room is essential reading for anyone interested in beautiful design.”

About the authors:

Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey are co-owners of Heath Ceramics, the iconic tableware and tile company founded by Edith and Brian Heath in 1948. Prior to taking the reins at Heath in 2003, they honed their skills and passion for making things—Petravic in product design engineering and Bailey in industrial design. Together, they bring their creative talents to Heath’s design while honoring the company’s long history and its unique relationship between craft and production—efforts that landed them the 2015 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. They live in Sausalito, California, with their son, Jasper, and their two enormous Newfoundlands, Carlo and Oliver.

Find this book anywhere books are sold: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, and Indie Bound.

 

*Reprinted with permission from Tile Makes the Room, by Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Mariko Reed.

change has come for us :: moving on

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I have hinted a few times that the winds of change had come a blowin’ for us here at Knack, and I have been waiting for the right time to share a bit with all of you. This storm blew in fast, and was totally unexpected, but I was able to step back and let it blow through me like a tornado…..exposing, cleaning out the cob webs, and ultimately refreshing the course of my business, and passion. Just a few short years ago, something similar to this really rocked my world. Now, I am thankful for the reminder and the memory of this time from the past. A time when I felt angry and afraid. A time where I could not and did not want to see the hand of God at work. I chose instead to try to control things that were never mine to control, and ultimately that led me to a place of turmoil and brokenness. Looking back on that time now…..it was one of the sweetest times, and a time that I still refer to as the best time of growth for both me personally and for Knack. I wrote my first book during this time, and I focused on what truly brought me joy and it was such a sweet season. Because of that season, this current season was made easier….not easy….but easi-er.

About 6 months ago my landlord called me in and asked me if I wanted out of my lease because there was someone interested in leasing my space. I was completely taken aback as I still had half a year left in my lease and had no desire to move…..ever. After I gathered my wits about me (somewhat) I told him that I was not interested in moving out of the building and would like to continue in my lease. But, I left that meeting with a heavy heart because I knew what it meant. It meant that things were going to change, because now there were people wanting my building and these people were obviously willing to pay more for the space. I thought about it long and hard for a few days, and then I went back to my landlord and asked if I could have first right of refusal when my lease came due and if I could know what the rent would be going up to at the time of renewal. I was told that I could have first right of refusal… and after a couple months I was told what the new lease price would be upon time of renewal. The new lease would be a 50% increase to my current rent. I can’t say that I didn’t know it was coming, but it was still so discouraging to hear. I love 11 Lois Ave. and I never wanted to leave….but this was a huge jump for me and I needed time to think long and hard about a lot of things. This is where I took time to step back, look at what was working/not working, what I love to do, what is best for my family, what is best for the business and began to determine the best next move. Do I suck it up and pay the rent increase because I don’t want to move, especially when I have a new book coming out? Do I open up a beautiful design studio in a fabulous location and get rid of the retail part of the business? Do I keep the same business model with the studio and retail? All of these options were running through my head… and I am thankful for options…but after looking at multiple locations and talking with mentors, family, and local business friends I knew that a move was inevitable and I knew what I had to do and wanted to do. Now, I just needed to find the right location to make this next move a reality.

During all of this, a guy that I knew from college (and who also goes to my church) just happened to buy the building across the street from my current location. He started stopping in every now and again and we would chat about The Village, rents, buildings, and the such. A couple times we talked about me moving into his building but I just did not think it was feasible or possible so I didn’t really think about it a whole lot. A move one street over had to make sense, because otherwise I was just moving to change landlords, and a move of this nature is not something to take lightly. Well, things got serious when I decided to move out of my current location and was looking for spaces outside of The Village. We started chatting more about a move into his building (which is currently gutted and under construction) and after a few weeks the first offer was made, then a counter offer, and then an agreement. So much thought and prayer was put into this decision and it was not one that I came to quickly or easily….but I know it is the right move.

So, I am very excited to announce that Knack is moving! There will still be retail (because I have come to realize that being a shopkeeper is one of my favorite things in the world) and my design studio will be the back part of the building. I am hoping to be able to offer classes in this space as well but that is yet to be determined. One of the most exciting things for me is that I get to design this shop from the ground up and it will be my biggest and grandest before and after project to date! I will share more about the location, new address, before and after pictures, inspiration pictures, and progress pictures as we go along. I plan to take lots and lots of photos and give weekly updates here and on facebook and instagram so that you all can follow along!

This is going to be a huge undertaking and I will need lots of help, so I am thankful for everyone who has already offered to help clean, pack, move, etc. I know that all of Knack’s needs will be taken care of by the awesome community that surrounds me here. There will be a bit of a gap since I have to be out of my current space by January 1 and the new location will not be ready until mid to late March…so we are looking at Pop up options…but we are heavily leaning towards just taking a winter break to focus on construction, the book launch, and all that comes with the move. I will keep all of you updated as to when the shop opening is and all of the special and fun things surrounding that time!

Now, we just have to hope that the city of Greenville approves all of our drawings, paint colors, and plans and that they agree to the huge giant windows that we want to change the store facade to. So many things can change and go right/wrong during construction…. so that is why I am cautiously optimistic about letting out this information but confidently moving forward.

Knowing where things are headed and how exciting this move is going to be definitely makes me feel like celebrating, and I am so excited about the fresh new year and the change it is bringing with it. Hard change, but really good change.

All things for good.

 

xo,

Barb

 

good vibes and collaborations :: fresh bib

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I always, always love collaborating with talented, creative, good people…and this little mash up between myself and Brooke Fish of Fresh Bib brings a huge smile to my face!

Brooke and I became friends through the blog years ago and we immediately knew that we were soul sisters. We had a couple Skype dates, but longed to meet in person…and that finally happened this past March at an event held here in Greenville called the Makers Summit. Brooke stayed at my house, and we had the absolute best time together! When it came time for her to leave, it just felt all wrong. I think the Fish family needs to move to Greenville because we are meant to live close. My daughter just reminded me the other day that I cried a little bit when I dropped Brooke off at the airport….I totally did.

Anywhoo…maybe one day we will live close…but for now we are staying in touch and creating fun collaborations such as this together! Brooke created this special bibdana box to go along with my Fall/ Winter collection that just launched! I love the buffalo plaid bib, the hand made soap, and the beautiful quote that completes this amazing gift package. If you are looking to bless a mama today (or every month) sign them up to receive a box of goodness and encouragement! What Brooke is doing is way more than creating cute bibs and pretty packaging. Fresh Bib is a light to all mamas who are in the trenches raising little ones, rejoicing in the beautiful moments, encouraging those who feel like giving up some days, and who are exhausted and discouraged. Brooke uses green thread purposely when she sews her bibs because green is for a fresh start to each moment….each day.

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Thank you Brooke for having a huge heart for mamas, and for letting that lead you into a creative business that encourages and inspires others!

xo

Introducing :: The Night Within Us Leaving Stars

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Where to even begin with how I came up with the name for this collection, why I decided on all blacks (well, in all honesty….I have been wanting to do an all black collection for a while now, so that was the easy part), and how meaningful “The Night Within Us Leaving Stars” really is to me.

I will be writing a full blog post this week about some big changes that are ahead for Knack. All of them are so, so good….but getting here was not always a good feeling. There were days that there were tears, and days where anger and fear threatened to creep in and overtake….but even more powerful than the darkness was this deep underlying peace. A voice that said…..rest, find joy, step back, be confident….because the plans I have for you are not to harm you , but to prosper you….to bring you hope….and an even brighter future! (paraphrase of Jeremiah 29:11)

So, needless to say, seeing the light midst the dark was very weighty and heavy on my mind and the inspiration seemed to flow forward out of me with both pain and joy. The mighty ocean waves that I chose for the wallpapered sideboard are no coincidence….but a purposeful reminder of the very fact that when we feel tossed about and pushed under… there is also beauty in the waves that toss us about….and we can let them toss us…or we can let them lull us to peace.

More soon…….xo

I love Target :: beautiful things

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I was just showing my husband all of these beautiful things (and dropping major hints!) while we were at Target the other day! I had the thought…”Target is killing it with the collections that they have in the store right now”…and really enjoyed looking through all of the marble, wood, natural fiber, and brass designs.

Here are a few of my favorites that I wanted to share and pass along:

1.       Threshold Silver and Gold Dip Bowls (small and medium), $2.99 – $3.99

2.       Threshold Ceramic Gold Rimmed Serving Platter (medium and large), $12.99 – $14.99

3.       Threshold Ceramic Gold Rimmed Serving Bowl, $12.99

4.       Threshold Marble and Wood Cutting Board, $24.99

5.       Nate Berkus Gem Accent Napkin Rings, $16.99

6.       Nate Berkus Pyramid Placecard Holder (set of 4), $9.99

Enjoy my friends!

mid week :: winter gardens, fall leaves, and zombies

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The Fall is officially upon us, and as I look at these images from the week I can’t help but notice the colors that come out this time of year. The reds seem to be extra vibrant and rich this year. I wonder why that is? Why some years certain colors shine more than others? Some years I feel like the oranges are so hot they almost burn your eyes and the yellows so bright they seem florescent. I hear it sometimes just depends on the levels of rainfall and other such things but I tend to think that God rather enjoys picking His own “color of the year” and stunning us all with every level and gradient of that color possible. I for one am thankful for the ever constant inspiration that nature brings and how the ultimate Creative shows His love to us in such a beautiful and tangible way.

Photos: 1. Out take from Furniture Makes the Room  2. My mind is on zombies after the last episode of The Walking Dead 3. This red Dogwood tree in front of my house is extra brilliant this year and I gladly welcome back this old friend of 16 years 4. All of my succulents and cacti re-potted indoors for the winter…..whew! I need to find gloves that cactus pricks don’t get through! 5. An out take from our book cover reveal video. These two lovelies working hard to make things beautiful, and the beams of light off to the right were what drew me to this photo. Light all around.

 

intelligence, confidence, beauty:: quotes

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image via pinterest

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately… and one of them is this very thing. Where is the balance between confidence and ego, and what do both even look like? Sometimes confidence looks like stepping back and letting someone else do what you could do, but they are better at it. Sometimes confidence looks like being still and not needing to say a word. Confidence is patience. Confidence is complete trust. Confidence is humble. Confidence is beautiful.

Ego on the other hand looks a bit different. Ego shouts for all the attention even if you were not responsible for what brought that attention. Ego is demanding. Ego is impatience and false urgency. Ego is often not based on truth but rather perceived “truth”. Ego is extremely defensive and seeks justice. Ego is prideful and ugly.

I want confidence. And, I not only want the characteristics of confidence in my own life…but I want to instill confidence in others as well.

Confidence is greater than ego.